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Losing candidates demand poll recount

The losing candidates (pictured) in Gabon's presidential elections claim there was widespread fraud in the poll and that the death toll due to post-election violence was much higher than the three deaths recorded.

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AFP - The main challengers in Gabon's disputed presidential election demanded a recount on Monday and charged that the toll in days of unrest was "much higher" than the official three deaths.

"We demand a recount of votes that was interrupted by the president of the CENAP (electoral commission)," a group of 16 candidates said in a statement read by former prime minister Jean Eyeghe Ndong.

The group includes former interior minister Andre Mba Obame, the runner-up, and opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou, who finished third in the election won by Ali Bongo, the son of the late veteran president Omar Bongo.

The government said at least three people died in the second city Port-Gentil during days of riots that erupted after Bongo was declared the winner with 42 percent of the vote on Thursday.

"The number of deaths caused by the army repression is much higher than the government would like to say," Ndong said.

The 16 candidates called for the creation of an international investigative panel "to determine the gravity of the events, the violations of human rights and who is responsible for this bloodbath".

The group said the election was marred by "grave manipulations" and charged that there was a "scandalous stuffing of ballot boxes" as well as an "incomprehensible swelling of voter lists".

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